I have decided to start a happiness challenge for myself with particular emphasis on right now. Too often I have found myself thinking I was happy when… or more frequently I will be happy when… I will be happy when I get paid employment, I will be happy when I am able to move out and away from my hometown, I will be happy when I have abs, I will be happy when I get to travel particularly internationally, I will be happy when I get married, I will be happy when I have children. You get the idea it is a long list of yet to be fulfilled goals, dreams and desires I have. There is nothing wrong with striving for your goals, dreams and desire; they give a sense of purpose and determination and when achieved it is an awesome feeling. I have just allowed mine to rob me of joy for right now to see the beauty in where I am (literally and figuratively) rather than where I want to be.
Change needed to happen because being unhappy quite frankly sucks. It began with a gentle wakeup call after spending the day with my brother recently. My brother rang that morning asking if I wanted to go see a movie; he would be around soon to pick me up. Despite only getting out of bed a little while ago and having things planned to catch up on, I was not going to miss this opportunity. After checking the movie trailer I readily agreed. It was an awesome, spontaneous day; we both enjoyed the movie and each other’s company and we are hoping to do it again sometime soon. As I climbed into bed that night, feeling happy, it dawned on me, if I had children I wouldn’t be able to spontaneously drop everything at short notice as easily, let alone go to the cinemas and watch a film uninterrupted. Now I can hear some of you say yeah Cathryn that’s obvious. And for me it is too. But I hadn’t thought about it that way before. Previously I had only thought about how much I want to become a mother not how things would change once that dream is fulfilled. No, this realisation has not damped my dream to become a wife and a mother in the slightest; what it has done though is allowed me to gain some perspective and to truly cherish the moments I am experiencing.
Some of you may not want to get married and have children. That’s fine, everyone is unique and as such, have different goals and dreams that capture their heart. This post is not about telling you what dreams you should have only you can decide that. I just want to encourage you to find happiness while you are waiting, hoping and striving because it is something I have struggled with for so long. Why? I think it is linked to a fear of being stuck. That I will be sixty years old still living at home, never married, no children, haven’t travelled anywhere etc. – it gives me a panic attack just thinking about it. In moments like these when your dreams feel like they are on shaky ground remind yourself of the truth, for me this is:
Your parents have promised you that if you haven’t moved out in a couple of years they will help you move to where you want to be
You are asking people if they honestly want to travel with you and if that falls through Mum and Dad are the backup plan
You are volunteering to gain confidence to be able to apply for paid work
You are working on your character so that when you are in a relationship it can have the best shot at thriving
Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
When I tell myself these truths it helps calm the panic in my heart. I am now making deliberate steps in my personal happiness challenge; it is about mindset, focusing on the good, being thankful and trusting Jesus will fulfil those dreams in your heart according to His will and timing.